2014 Minnesota Twins Top 10 Prospects

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Updated: January 28, 2014
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After a long delay – something measured in the months, not days -  I have a bit of an announcement to make: I will be publishing the first ever Prospect Digest Annual sometime late January/early February.

The Prospect Digest Annual will feature each organization’s Top 30 Prospects, ranking the farm systems, and several additional articles.

Until the big day happens, I will be posting each organization’s Top 10 Prospects, starting with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Enjoy!

For more Top Prospects click HERE

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1. Byron Buxton, Position: CF, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

321

176

.341

.431

.559

13.7%

17.4%

.219

15

10

8

32/43

A+

253

155

.326

.415

.472

12.6%

19.4%

.147

4

8

4

23/31

Profile: A dynamic game changer in every facet, Buxton showcased the most impressive toolkit in the minor leagues last season, hitting a combined .334/.424/.520 with 49 extra-base hits and 55 stolen bases. His total offensive production was 59% better than the league average, making the teenaged superstar the only sub-20-year-old player to top the 50% mark.

Analysis: The best player in the minor leagues. Period. Buxton does it: plus-speed, above-average hit tool, 30-HR potential, elite patience at the plate, strong contact skills, and defensive prowess. Earlier in the year I described Buxton’s offensive ceiling as Barry Bonds-esque circa the Pittsburgh Pirates, particularly his 1992 season in which he hit .311/.456/.624 with 36 doubles, five triples, 34 homeruns and 38 stolen bases. I’m still sticking by that too.

Ceiling: 9.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

 

2. Miguel Sano, Position: 3B, Age: 21

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

243

203

.330

.424

.655

11.9%

25.1%

.325

15

2

16

9/11

AA

276

145

.236

.344

.571

13.0%

29.3%

.335

15

3

19

2/3

Profile: One of the game’s premier power-hitting prospects, Sano slugged 35 homeruns as a 20-year-old making his way through the middle levels of minor leagues for the first time. The Dominican-born third baseman’s production was a combined was a whopping 72% better than the league average, the second highest mark in the minors. The impressive part, though, is that despite a sub-.240 batting average with New Britain, Sano was still the eighth best bat in the Eastern League according wRC+.

Analysis: One swing of the bat, that’s all it takes with Sano. Plus-plus-power with a ceiling north of 40 bombs, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him top 50 in a season. Elite eye at the plate. And even though the K-rate typically borders on red flag territory, it shouldn’t be a problem given his youth and level of competition. Defensively, he made enough strides to remain at third. A .280/.380/.600-type ceiling.

Ceiling: 7.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

3. Kohl Stewart, Position: RHP, Age: 19

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

RK

4.0

0.00

-0.16

18.00

2.25

33.3%

6.7%

0.00

20.0%

RK

16.0

1.69

3.04

9.00

1.69

22.1%

4.4%

0.00

45.8%

Profile: Taken directly following the hyped collegiate trio of Mark Appel, Kris Bryant, and Jonathan Gray, Stewart bypassed a chance to play football for Coach Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M. Four million dollars and change can impact such decisions. 

Analysis: Only a little to go on other than his lofty draft status, Stewart fanned 24 and walked just four in 20 innings of work. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t be surprised to see him head to full-season ball to start 2014.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

4. Alex Meyer, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

78.1

3.21

2.92

10.80

3.73

28.1%

9.7%

0.39

57.4%

Profile: The anti-Minnesota Twins starting pitcher, Meyer, a 6-foot-9 and 220 pound right-hander, has the potential to bring something the ball club hasn’t seen in years: an above-average strikeout rate from a starting pitcher. Acquired from the Nationals for serviceable center fielder Denard Spand, Meyer dealt with some shoulder soreness in the middle of the year, but made it back for a few final starts. Oh, yeah, the former first round pick spends his offseason as a $69/day substitute teacher.

Analysis: If you were to create a starting pitcher from scratch it might look something like Meyer: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds, above-average to plus strikeout potential, solid or better control, and fantastic groundball rates. If he can avoid injury, Meyer could develop into a legitimate frontline starting pitcher.

Ceiling: 4.5- to 5.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

5. Eddie Rosario, Position: 2B, Age: 22

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A+

231

153

.329

.377

.527

7.4%

12.6%

.198

13

5

6

3/9

AA

313

104

.284

.330

.412

6.7%

21.4%

.128

19

3

4

7/11

Profile: Successfully converted from a speedy center fielder to a potential above-average second baseman, Rosario put together one helluva half season with Fort Myers, hitting .329/.377/.537 with 13 doubles, five triples, six homeruns and a trio of stolen bases. His numbers declined a bit in the Eastern League, though he did manage to top the average offense by 4%.

Analysis: One of the more underrated second prospects in the game. Rosario offers surprising pop from the keystone, perhaps peaking near the HR-mark. The hit tool is pretty solid as well. The Jason Kipnis-comp comes pretty easy.

Ceiling: 4.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate to Above-Average

 

6. Jose Berrios, Position: RHP, Age: 20

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

103.2

3.99

3.79

8.68

3.47

22.0%

8.8%

0.52

40.5%

Profile: Berrios made the successful jump from the rookie leagues to low Class A last season, fanning 100 and walking 40 in 103.2 innings of work.

Analysis: A supplemental first rounder in 2012, Berrios seemingly wore down during the year’s final two months. After averaging 10.45 K/9 through the end up June, Berrios struck out just 35 over his final 49.1 innings (6.34 K/9). The former looks like a solid #2-type ceiling and the latter is closer to a bullpen role. He could settle in somewhere in between.

Ceiling: 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

7. Trevor May, Position: RHP, Age: 24

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

AA

151.2

4.51

3.67

9.44

3.98

24.1%

10.2%

0.83

38.1%

Profile: As an organization that harps on pitching to contact and limiting free passes it was no surprise to see May post the best walk rate of his six-year career. May, who was acquired along with Vance Worley from Philly in exchange for center fielder Ben Revere, averaged 4.67 BB/9 between 2010 and 2012; last season he averaged a smidgeon under 4.00.

Analysis: Still not convinced he doesn’t end up as a power arm coming out of the pen. May certainly has top-of-the-rotation-type ability, but it will all be predicated on his ability to avoid walks, so it’s fortunate he’s landed with Minnesota. Probably a good #3 if can cut another 0.50 off of his walk rate.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

8. Jorge Polanco, Position: 2B/SS, Age: 20

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

A

523

127

.308

.362

.452

8.0%

11.3%

.144

32

10

5

4/8

Profile: Polanco backed up a strong showing in the Appalachian League in 2012 by hitting .308/.362/.452 as a 19-year-old in low Class A. The switch-hitting middle infielder topped the league average by 27%.

Analysis: The offensive numbers are a bit misleading due to Cedar Rapids’ friendly confines, but there’s no reason Polanco could develop 15- to 18-HR power with a solid hit tool. His bat plays better at short, though the glove may not.

Ceiling: 3.0- to 3.5-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Moderate

 

9. Josmil Pinto, Position: C, Age: 25

Level

PA

wRC+

AVG

OBP

SLG

BB%

K%

ISO

2B

3B

HR

SB/AT

AA

453

152

.308

.411

.482

14.1%

15.7%

.174

23

1

14

0/2

AAA

75

124

.314

.333

.486

2.7%

16.0%

.171

9

0

1

0/0

MLB

83

169

.342

.398

.566

7.2%

26.5%

.224

5

0

4

0/0

Profile: The likely successor to the catching job now that Joe Mauer is a fulltime first baseman. Pinto hasn’t stopped hitting since the start of 2012. The Venezuelan-born backstop followed up a .295/.362/.482 line by slugging .309/.400/.482 last season.

Analysis: Not completely sold on his offense, especially after some early career struggles. But Pinto could reach a .270/.330/.400 triple-slash line, peaking with 15 or so homeruns. 

Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average

10. Lewis Thorpe, Position: LHP, Age: 18

Level

IP

ERA

SIERA

K/9

BB/9

K%

BB%

HR/9

GB%

A

44.0

2.05

1.26

13.09

1.23

38.1%

3.6%

0.41

42.7%

Profile: The southpaw from Down Under had a nice debut showing in the Gulf Coast League, pacing the league with 13.09 K/9 and finishing third with 1.23 BB/9. The Twins signed the Aussie to a $500,000 deal back 2012.

Analysis: Very little to go on, analytically speaking, but it was one helluva small sample size. Can’t wait to see him in full season ball.

Ceiling: Too Soon to Tell

Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: N/A

 

 

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